Angie Bray MP
I was delighted that earlier this month, Prime Minister, David Cameron, welcomed some fifty other world leaders to an international conference in London on Somalia. London was the perfect place to host this important gathering, not least because of the longstanding links between the UK and Somalia, of which we are very proud.
We know all too well the considerable challenges facing the nascent Somali Government and the conference was an excellent way to mark the tremendous progress they have already made in the last year. Crucially, it also offered our Prime Minister the opportunity to set out the important role the UK is playing in supporting Somalia as it faces up to these big challenges.
In all sectors of society we’re offering assistance.
As part of our long-term commitment we’re providing funding and military expertise to help make the country and its coastline more secure – aid totalling about £11.5 million over the next few years.
We’re helping the country mend itself by improving policing and the country’s justice system with £14.5 million worth of training equipment and policy advisers. We’re providing £17.9 million over 4 years for development investments in agricultural and livestock production to stimulate economic growth and helping to develop policies that will make it easier for both local people and foreign investors to start and run successful businesses in Somalia.
Hopefully, all this and our support for other vital projects like the Preventing Sexual Violence initiative will further contribute towards the country’s stability. As the young British Somalis I regularly meet in Acton frequently tell me, being a woman in Somalia is not easy. Life in general in Somalia hasn’t been easy, but there are hugely positive strides forward being made and we can really help.
That’s the message Foreign Office Minister, Mark Simmonds, had for the large gathering of young Somalis from across London which he asked me to help organise in my constituency recently. This is part of his programme of meeting representatives of the Somali community with whom he wants to share ideas on how to build Somalia’s future. There is a great sense of purpose amongst the Somali diaspora in the UK that working with the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development to draw on all the skills and expertise available will help as we all work to rebuild the country. I’m looking forward to continuing my work with my local Somali community and hearing more of their ideas about how the Somali diaspora in the UK can make the difference.